Marquis of Debris: Fighting blight

A LITTLE public shaming can go a long way: Email me at trash@phillynews.com if you have a litter problem in your neighborhood and want to triumph over trash.

WRONG PLACE FOR BAGS: I ventured to Grays Ferry this week and met Joe Moran, who has a bone to pick with city trash collectors passing up trash bags left on Reed Street near Newkirk.

Moran has called the Streets Department week after week to have the trash picked up, because no one else seems to care, he said.

Trash collectors told him that although there are homes near Reed Street in every direction, none are actually on that part of Reed.

"If there are items placed on a street where there are no homes this is considered a short dump, which is illegal dumping," said Keisha McCarty-Skelton, a Streets Department spokeswoman.

In this situation, the Streets and Walkways Education and Enforcement Program tries to find out who is leaving the trash behind before trash collectors return to haul it away.

"Collection crews will not collect these items initially, as this slows down pickups on the regular collection routes," McCarty-Skelton said.

Moran, who has numbers to the Streets Department saved in his cellphone, thinks the rule is bogus.

"The city and their stupid rules. They don't make any sense," Moran fumed. "You see the trash, you pick it up. That's your job!"

MARQUIS GETS RESULTS: In late June I visited Broad Street and Washington Avenue, where litter took over the corner of a parking lot and spilled out onto the street.

City officials slapped the owners of the lot with a violation notice, and magically, the weeds have been mowed and the trash disappeared - although Washington Avenue is still far from litter-free.

RESULTS, SORT OF: Then, last week I visited Daggett Street in Southwest Philadelphia after neighbors complained about a pile of trash sitting behind one house, and discarded couches sunbathing in a small yard in front of another.

Ahlicia Bullock said the pile of trash behind her neighbor's house she complained about was hauled away after last week's column, but the couches are still sitting in front of the other house.

City trash collectors stopped picking up bulk items made of metal in 2009. However, residents still can leave up to two compactible items, like couches and mattresses, with the trash on collection day each week, according to the Streets Department.

The Marquis will check again to see how long the couches are left on the wrong side of the fence.


This report was compiled by Phillip Lucas.